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Published: Monday, March 05, 2018 @ 5:31 AM
Updated: Monday, March 05, 2018 @ 5:45 AM
GENEVA — Global automakers are rolling out more electric vehicles at the Geneva International Motor Show as they try to challenge Tesla and get ahead of a disruptive shift in transportation toward lower-emission and autonomous vehicles.
For the European carmakers, the mood at the event could be unsettled by U.S. President Donald Trump's threat this weekend to slap tariffs on the region's manufacturers in a potential trade war.
And the three big German manufacturers — Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW — will grasp the opportunity to highlight their high-tech creations amid their continued trouble with diesel technology, such as the legal attempts to ban diesel in German cities and the scandal over exposing monkeys to exhaust in lab tests.
The carmakers will show off their wares during press days Monday evening through Wednesday; the show opens to the public Thursday and runs through March 18.
Here are the top themes.
ELECTRIC AND AUTONOMOUS
The biggest trend in autos is the race to make new technologies affordable and functional.
Some of the vehicles on show — such as Volkswagen's autonomous and battery-driven I.D. Vizzion — will be concepts not yet ready for production. Others will have vehicles that are ready to go on sale in coming months, such as Jaguar Land Rover with the Jaguar I-Pace, a battery-driven SUV advertising 310 miles (498 kilometers) of range and rapid-charging capability.
Mercedes-Benz will have an addition to its EQ electric brand. Hyundai will show its Kona Electric, with either a 300-kilometer (186-mile) or 470-kilometer (292-mile) range. Luxury carmakers like BMW and Jaguar are eager to grab back some of the sales of high-end vehicles taken by Tesla with its electric Model S high-performance sedan and Model X SUV.
When it comes to technological change there will be more than vehicles to talk about. The German automakers and Ford are working to build a network of fast-charging stations across Europe through their joint venture, Ionity. The idea is to make electric vehicles more appealing by enabling longer trips. Currently, many electric models are charged over several hours at home at night and used for short commutes, limiting their use. Ionity's 350 kilowatt-per-hour charging capacity could cut charge times to 15 minutes or less.
Automakers are under pressure to come up with vehicles propelled by something other than internal combustion engines to comply with government efforts to reduce air pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases blamed by scientists for global warming. The issue became even more pressing after a German court said last week that polluted cities can ban older-model diesels. Diesel sales had already slipped after Volkswagen's 2015 scandal over cheating on emissions tests.
Autonomous vehicles could herald a shift to transportation as a service with less incentive to own a car. Analysts at IHS Markit estimate that autonomous cars will have their first significant sales volume with 51,000 units in 2021 and surpass 33 million per year by 2040.
All three German auto makers have condemned the 2014 experiment in which Volkswagen had macaque monkeys exposed to diesel exhaust at a lab in New Mexico. The tests were commissioned through a now-disbanded organization whose board had representatives from BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler. They have said they're investigating how the tests happened.
The show won't erase public indignation or media questions but at least offers a chance to talk about something other than a PR disaster.
SEEN THAT ALREADY
Some of the more important vehicles at the show have already been revealed as companies use stand-alone events to show off their new cars rather than putting them on display in a crowd of other vehicles. That's the case with Mercedes-Benz A-Class, its small entry model hatchback that was unveiled Feb. 2 in Amsterdam. The car features voice-activated control of navigation, phone, music and heating and air conditioning somewhat like Amazon and Google's devices for home use. The Jaguar I-Pace had a digital unveiling from Graz, Austria on Thursday ahead of the show — showing it beating two Tesla models in a race.
IF YOU HAVE TO ASK HOW MUCH
Geneva is typically a place to show off gorgeous, extremely fast and very, very expensive vehicles. A taste: Luxury sports car maker McLaren offers the low-slung Senna, named after the race driver Ayrton Senna. Its 800 horsepower turbocharged V8 engine takes it to a top speed of 340 kph (211 mph). Just 500 of the sleek, carbon-fiber vehicles will be built, hand-assembled at the company's production center in Woking, Surrey, England. The price: 750,000 pounds including tax, which translates to $1.03 million at today's exchange rate.
Published: Friday, March 09, 2018 @ 9:54 AM
— Your kids are begging for the latest and greatest cellphones to hit the market.
They may not like a new one that’s being introduced, but you sure will like them to have it.
It can call and it can text. But it cannot use Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or any other social media.
Basically, it’s an old-fashioned flip phone without the flip phone look.
It also uses E-Ink for the display and operates on a modified version of the Android operating system, the Telegraph reported.
“Unlike a flip phone, however, to children the Light Phone is seen as ‘cool’ amongst their peers,” Joe Hollier, co--founder of Light told “Good Morning America.” “We have been working with parents on the idea of a parental app to support their child’s Light Phone 2 as well.”
Light launched it’s first phone in 2016. It could only make calls and store nine numbers, the Telegraph reported. The company sold 10,000 devices, but they were too simple for many and were not practical for some, the Telegraph reported.
Light Phone 2 are expected to ship next year and will cost about $250, the Telegraph reported.
If you want to get in on the new technology, the company launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise $250,000. So far it has exceeded that amount by 335 percent and has more than $836,000 pledged from supporters.
Published: Thursday, January 25, 2018 @ 5:13 AM
— If you needed a reason not to bite your iPhone battery, here it is.
According to Taiwan News, a man entered an electronics store in China hoping to purchase a replacement battery for his iPhone.
In an attempt to test its authenticity, the customer reportedly bit into the battery and as he removed it from his mouth, the product ruptured, exploding in his face.
Luckily, no one was injured.
The episode came soon after outrage over Apple’s admittance to slowing down older iPhone models with aging batteries led to big discounts on replacement batteries around the globe, including in China.
“However,” Taiwan News reported, “Chinese electronics stores are notoriously replete with fake goods, thus the man was in his own – but obviously wrong – way trying to test its authenticity.”
Published: Friday, December 22, 2017 @ 11:09 AM
— Soon after news emerged that Apple admitted to slowing down iPhone performance as the devices’ batteries age, multiple lawsuits have been filed against the company.
CNBC reported that Stefan Bogdanovich and Dakota Speas filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Apple, claiming the company never asked for consent from them to alter the performance of their phones.
The lawsuit says Apple breached the implied contracts with Bogdanovich and Speas “by purposefully slowing down older iPhone models when new models come out and by failing to properly disclose that at the time that the parties entered into an agreement,” according to WCBS.
The complaint also says that the two are entitled to compensation because the slowdown of their devices cause them to suffer “economic damages and other harm.”
“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components,” Apple said in a statement to The Verge about performance of the devices.
“Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future,” Apple said in the statement.
Bogdanovich and Speas are trying to get the case certified to cover all U.S. owners of iPhones older than the iPhone 8, according to CNBC. Their suit is not the only one against Apple since the company released its statement about iPhone battery speed. WCBS reported that a second class-action lawsuit was filed in Illinois on Thursday night.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the suit was filed in Chicago by two people in Illinois as well as by Ohio, North Carolina and Indiana residents with iPhone models 5 through 7.
The suit says Apple “needlessly subjects consumers to purchasing newer and more expensive iPhones when a replacement battery could have allowed consumers to continue to use their older iPhones.”
Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 1:44 AM
— Twitter has released its end-of-year stats and revealed that former President Barack Obama had the most-liked tweet of 2017.
His tweet, sent in August after white nationalists marched on Charlottesville, Virginia, has been liked 4.6 million times. The tweet reads, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion,” accompanied by a picture of him looking up at a group of children.
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion..." pic.twitter.com/InZ58zkoAm— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 13, 2017
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite,” the quote, in whole, reads.
Obama’s tweet following the Charlottesville march wasn’t his only top tweet. He also took the third spot for most-liked, and the second, fifth, and eighth spots for most-retweeted tweets.
His other top tweets included his tweet to Sen. John McCain after the Arizona Republican was diagnosed with cancer; the final line of his presidential farewell address in Chicago; and his farewell after leaving the Oval Office for the last time.
John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I've ever known. Cancer doesn't know what it's up against. Give it hell, John.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 20, 2017
Thank you for everything. My last ask is the same as my first. I'm asking you to believe—not in my ability to create change, but in yours.— President Obama (@POTUS44) January 11, 2017
It's been the honor of my life to serve you. You made me a better leader and a better man.— President Obama (@POTUS44) January 20, 2017
Other top tweets included Ariana Grande’s tweet after the bombing at her Manchester, England, concert; LeBron James’s tweet when he called President Donald Trump a “bum"; a tweet promising to donate 6 pounds of dog food to Houston dogs affected by Hurricane Harvey for every retweet it received; another tweet asking for retweets to raise donations for Houston;, a photo from Linkin Park of its former frontman, Chester Bennington, after he committed suicide earlier this year; the number to the suicide hotline tweeted by social media star Seth Joseph; and finally, the most-retweeted tweet of the year came from 16-year-old Carter Wilkerson begging for retweets so he could win free chicken nuggets from Wendy’s for a year.
While Trump didn’t win a top spot for any of his own tweets, he was the most-tweeted-about world leader.